LESSON THREE: THE CONDITIONS NECESSARY TO LIVE AS HUMAN BEINGS

Introduction

In the previous lesson we have relatively proven the need for searching for a true religion, which relies upon man’s intrinsic nature and the inherent instincts of seeking profit. These motives can be found in all men who are unbiased and who hold an intuitive awareness of their natural self.

We aim in this chapter to explore the same subject from a different angle with different subtle preliminaries. The result of such arguments is that if an individual does not investigate religion nor hold a correct worldview or ideology, they will never reach human perfection. Thus an essential condition for the success of one’s livelihood is to hold a correct worldview or ideology.

The above result depends upon three preliminaries:

  1. Man existentially pursues perfection.

  2. Man’s perfection is achieved in the light of active ‘free-will’, which arises from the command of the intellect (hukm al-‘aql).

  3. The practical rules of the intellect take form under the light of understanding speculative realities. However the most significant of all realities are the three fundamental principles of worldviews: Belief in the creator. The eventual end of life A program that guarantees success in this life and in the Hereafter.

Man is a creature that pursues perfection.

A person who is aware of his intrinsic nature and psychological tendencies will discover that through his actions it is possible to attain perfection. No individual likes to be defective or imperfect; he tries to rid himself of imperfections so as to reach the state of perfection. Furthermore he tries to conceal his faults in-front of others. The desire for pursuing perfection is only effective when it is regulated by the course of intrinsic nature, as opposed to the path of perversion, which will lead him towards the diseased qualities such as arrogance, hypocrisy and self-praise etc.

Hence the drive for achieving perfection is a powerful intrinsic element, which can be sensed in the depths of the human soul by those conscious individuals.

a. Man’s perfection is achieved by following the intellect.

The perfection of plants in the plant kingdom is to bear specific fruits, which are dependant upon the conditions available for the development of that particular fruit.

However these conditions are determined for them as there is no element of free-will in the vegetative domain.

In the realm of the animal kingdom, free-will is limited to the level of instincts, which are confined to the corporeal senses.

Human beings however in addition to the animalistic and vegetative domain have two spiritual privileges:

  1. Intuitional desires, which are not limited within his physical needs.

  2. The power of the intellect, by which man can expand his realm of knowledge infinitely.

These two privileges increase the domain of ‘free- will’ towards the infinite.

In the same manner by which the specific qualities help the vegetative realm to reach perfection, and corporeal senses aid the animal realm to its perfection, man accomplishes perfection on account of the intellect in association with awareness. It is this very intellect, which can determine the different levels of desirability and select the best choice at the time of multitude.

Based on the above, we can deduce that human behaviour is firmly established on the quality of free-will, which evolves from special desires that are selected and approved by the intellect.

b. The practical rules of the intellect require the basis of speculation.

Human behavior used in conjunction with free-will is a means to attain the desired objective. This behavior, because of its objective is valuable as it affects human perfection. A behavior however, that alters perfection will subsequently have a negative value.

When the intellect is able to judge human behaviour and ascertain its worth, man should then be aware of his existence and of the levels of perfection. He should thus know the different dimensions of his being and the purpose of his creation.

On these grounds the correct ideology, which governs the valuable system of human behavior becomes intermixed with the correct worldview. However we cannot judge human behavior unless we have arrived at these principles. Thus the speculative understanding, which composes the worldview, is the basis for the practical rules of the intellect.

c. Results to be achieved

By taking these preliminaries into consideration, we can comprehend the importance of inquiring into religion and of holding a correct worldview or ideology.

Man by his nature pursues perfection and aims to reach the state of perfection through the performance of actions and behavior. However in order to know which kinds of behavior will assist him in reaching this goal, he first needs to be aware as to what is his infinite level of perfection. To understand this it is necessary that he understands his own being, knowing its beginning and its end, and then to understand the positive and negative relationships between different types of behavior, and their effects thereon. He should also be able to recognise the different miscellaneous levels of perfection. Until he realises these prerequisites, which are basically the speculative knowledge (principles of worldview), he will not be able to grasp the practical rules of the intellect, which is the ideology.

To conclude, we can claim that inquiring into a true religion, which is composed of a correct worldview and ideology is essential. Without such a belief man will never achieve perfection, because behavior based upon an incorrect worldview and ideology will lead him nowhere.

Those who persist in their arrogance, ill desires and unfaithfulness after recognising the truth are in reality no less than animals. They are content by satisfying that aspect of their nature and are described as such in the Qur’an:

“They enjoy and eat, just like the cattle eat” (Muhammad:12).

Since man has destroyed his potential to become perfect he will face the consequences of eternal chastisement:

“Leave them to eat and enjoy and to be diverted by longings. Soon they will know”. (al-Hijr:3)

Questions:

1- What are the preliminaries for the second proof of investigating religion?

2- Explain man as a creature that pursues perfection.

3- What are the fundamental qualities of man?

4- How are the fundamental qualities related to true perfection?

5- In what way does ideology depend upon a worldview?

6- Explain the logical form of the second argument.